Dry Eye Syndrome – Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

During the cold winter months, many of us suffer from sore, dry eyes. In fact, it affects up to 1 in 4 people in the UK.

Dry eye syndrome occurs when our eyes don’t produce enough tears to keep them sufficiently lubricated. While this is common in people over 50, women are also more susceptible than men because of hormonal changes that occur throughout their life.

If you think you might have dry eye syndrome, symptoms to look out for include:

  • sore, red or itchy eyes
  • a gritty sensation
  • short-term blurred vision or sensitivity to light
  • difficulty wearing contact lenses due to irritation or dryness

Dry eye syndrome can even cause watery eyes if your eyes overcompensate by producing excess, poor quality tears.

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You’re at higher risk of dry eye:

  • during cold winter weather
  • when exposed to central heating or air conditioning
  • in low humidity or dusty environments
  • if you have certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis
  • if you spend too much time looking at a screen without a break
  • if you smoke

Although there’s no cure for dry eye, you can manage your symptoms using eye drops, ointments and gels recommended by your optometrist, which will temporarily help to lubricate your eyes and reduce irritation.

At Jarvis Optometrist, we offer assessments and guidance on how to treat dry eyes, and as an independent prescriber we can also send any prescriptions for specialist eye drops directly to your local pharmacy for you to collect.

Our principal optometrist, Ian Jarvis, has also been writing a research paper about a new treatment for Meibomian Gland Dysfunction (MGD), which is a type of dry eye. MGD is caused by a blockage in the small glands in your eyelids that usually secrete oil to coat the surface of your eye and prevent tears from evaporating. Here’s an update from Ian about his current research progress:

“Many thanks to everyone who has helped me by completing the post treatment survey for this relatively new treatment for MGD that I have been researching. So far, the results have shown a significant and lasting impact on both the signs and symptoms of dry eye.

This is highly significant, as dry eye is often a chronic condition that is difficult to get lasting relief from. I am writing a research paper on this, so that it can be shared with my fellow independent prescribing optometrists, so we can begin to provide more effective dry eye treatment for all patients.”

To find out more about dry eye syndrome and the research that Ian is carrying out, feel free to get in touch with one of the team. If you’d like to make an appointment for a dry eye assessment, book online or call us directly on 01382 462236.